"Not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called"
—(1 Cor. 1:26)
Thus the Apostle Paul describes the Church in Corinth. Many evangelicals today have quoted this text as evidence that Christians ought to avoid scholarship. Seminaries are derided as “Cemeteries”, places where one goes to kill his faith. In general, thinking has been deprecated. And so the modern evangelical church is often a place of feeling and experience rather than a place of deep thought. But while Paul is critical of wisdom, it is only of a particular kind of wisdom, namely the wisdom that is according to the flesh. There is another kind of wisdom that believers are exhorted to seek after, the wisdom of Christ.
There is more to the Christian faith than thinking, but without thinking there is no faith. Experience and emotion have their place. But experience and emotion cannot supplant the place of knowledge and wisdom, not without serious repercussions.
We have been given a vast universe to explore and a limitless Triune God to know. Created in the image of God, man has been endowed by his Creator with faculties ideally suited to the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. God has given you and I taste buds that correspond to the aromas and flavors of creation. Likewise, He has given us minds that resonate with the facts and ideas of creation. We are hard wired to think. Think we must. But we don’t always think right.
Remember that Paul distinguished between true wisdom and the wisdom according to the flesh. We must therefore take great care to train our minds to think and reason rightly. Wrong thinking and shoddy reasoning abound. Ideas have consequences. Currently the chickens of evil consequences are coming home to roost in our society and in our churches. If we would win the culture back for Christ we must raise up a generation of young believers who are trained in the science of thinking and gifted in the arts of wisdom.
For this to happen, it is essential first that the church recover a high view of the nobility of thought. God has revealed himself to us in words, ideas, and rational connections. The Gospel is a message that must be spoken, heard, and understood before it can be rightly believed. Thus, we cannot rightly know God or His Word unless we grow up in our minds. But if we do develop the skills required to think well as Christians we will have the weapons necessary to overcome our adversaries and retake the field.
We must remain vigilant against the temptation to settle for the wisdom according to the flesh. The church has no need of Pharisaical “know-it-alls”. We need humble, godly, thinkers. We need lots of them. The resources we provide here at Exodus are offered in the confidence that Christians can think. The books listed below provide a further defense and support for the vital work of recovering the art and science of thought.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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